The Intergenerational Effects of the Vietnam Draft on Risky Behaviors
68 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020 Last revised: 16 Jan 2022
Date Written: September 2020
We exploit the natural experiment provided by the Vietnam lottery draft to evaluate the intergenerational effect of fathers’ draft eligibility on children’s propensity to engage in risky health behaviors during adolescence using the NLSY97. Draft eligibility increases measures of substance use, intensity of use, decreases age of initiation—particularly for marijuana—and increases measures of delinquency. We explore potential mechanisms: Draft eligibility affects paternal parenting styles and attitudes towards the respondent, environmental aspects, and even maternal factors. Results are robust to alternative specifications and falsification diagnostics. Our results indicate that previous analyses underestimate the full negative effects of draft eligibility.
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